The Artful Mind ...March 2024 issue

Page 28


Interview by Harryet Candee Photography by Bobby Miller & Courtesy of the Artist

“To be an artist you have to know who you are. If you are an artist, you know it without a doubt. The same is true for magicians.” - Pamela Berkeley During winter, our art studios are the perfect place to bring ideas to life. Pamela, what are you currently working on? Please share with us. Pamela Berkeley: Winter here in the Berkshires is so peaceful and quiet. Especially out here in the woods. The light is soft and moody. Fires in the stoves and fireplace. Maybe some bulbs flowering in bowls of water. I’ve painted all that. At the moment, I’m transforming something that I had started a while ago. What new challenges are you facing when initiating this work? PB: The painting I’m working on is being made in a new way. It started off this summer, but because there were a lot of shows, visitors and holidays, I hadn’t finished it. I was nearly done, but the flowers had gone by and the light had changed. It’s a still life with a favorite vase. I’m in love with what it began as, but it cannot be. 26 • MARCH 2024 THE ARTFUL MIND

This is unusual for me, because I work quickly. What new insights have you gained about yourself while working on this new painting? PB: This may sound odd, but I almost never have not finished what I started. When I want to make something, I do it. Once the inspiration and desire are there, it’s practically done. To finish this painting, I need to rely on memory. This is a challenge. I don’t always trust myself to make things up. We don’t like to doubt ourselves. I have to make changes in light, colors, tone, basically a new painting. I was blown away by the colors, deep reds and purples, of these gorgeous Hellebores that I had seen at Wards Nursery and at the Big Y. I was rescued by this vision. I don’t know if this makes sense to someone who is not an artist, but it is from these intimate and personal insights that art, real art, is born. And it is a lot of work, discipline and experience (and joy and pain sometimes) to recognize these things. I just hope

the painting turns out right, because so much is going into it. We, as artists, know that, but do we want it to be known? Maybe because we want it to be looked at and appreciated, without question. How have your life experiences influenced your artwork and shaped you as an artist? PB: My first husband, and the father of my older daughter, died when she was still a baby I lived in Garrison, NY, on the Hudson River. When I was a teenager, I modeled at the Garrison Art Center drawing classes, where I also drew. Carter Jones was a high school friend. After school, he and I would take the train to the City to take life drawing classes at the Art Students League and the School of Visual Arts. We also studied at the Westchester County Center with Stephen Peck, who taught portraiture and anatomy. Carter was a very talented artist and sculptor, even as a teenager. Still an old friend. We knew what we wanted and who we were, even as kids.

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